2023 Overwatch League Power Rankings – NA Spring Stage

Volamel 2023-04-13 02:01:57

The 2023 Overwatch League season is mere weeks away. And with the Pro-Am wrapped up, it is time to get into the holiday spirit. Power rankings are here, but this year we are doing things a little bit differently.    


  While the 2023 Pro-Am is an exciting preseason exhibition event, we won't be placing too much weight on it. With teams playing at varying degrees of ping and seriousness, we don't feel comfortable taking this sample under the microscope.  While the patch for the Spring Stage has been announced, these rankings are going to be far more general. Take these measurements as non-patch specific, looking at a breadth of playtime across a few different possible metagames. The lower amount of games per stage means teams that seem volatile are going to be put under a touch more scrutiny. And, as a format change to past years, Esports Heaven will be specifically looking at the Spring Stage, not the entire season.   

San Fransico Shock

    When you reach the grand final of an Overwatch League season off the back of a late-stage tank replacement, you've got pretty good bones. The 2023 San Francisco Shock still house its best pieces, minus a strong support option. This season they've welcomed in the core of the dominant 02 Blast team that should only serve to improve consistency across the season.  They come packed with preexisting teamwork, a world-class DPS in Kim "Proper" Dong-hyun, a second DPS threat with high expectations, and two tanks to cover any and all bases.  Favourites is putting it lightly. This is easily the Shock's year.   

Atlanta Reign

  We can safely say that the Atlanta Reign won the 2022 off-season. Scooping up frankly incredible players is something Overwatch League fans should be familiar with big-name moves, but to this degree and at this volume? This is one of a kind.  Meta-proof, explosive, and talent packed, there isn't much to be worried about with the 2023 Reign. However, the only critique to leverage is how this mostly South Korean team operates with Xander "Hawk" Domecq at the helm, especially early on in the season. If there was to be a pain point for such a well-built team, that's the only vector that you could attack.   

Houston Outlaws

    Let's make this abundantly clear; the Houston Outlaws might not ever drop a single Escort map this stage. With two of the greatest flex supports to ever touch the game, a flick-scan that has terrorized the game for ages, and a returning tank looking to prove the world wrong, the Outlaws are a team in striking distance of the Overwatch League title.  The only separation from the top two teams is a dedicated Tracer player to play alongside Oh "Pelican" Se-hyun. And before you raise your eyebrow and point towards Lee "Happy" Jeongwoo, we saw him on the Outlaws in 2021 struggle on dive heroes. Need convincing? Here are his numbers on Sombra and Tracer. Obviously, it is a different team and plenty of time has past, but we can't rule out some questions.   

Toronto Defiant

  This is the year the Toronto Defiant finally have something to be excited about. With the former core of American Tornado, this is a team that has experience together, competing against teams in the league, and who is not lacking in skill. As one of the teams who did have some fairly significant scrim footage leaked, one thing that emerged was Toronto's seemingly early comfort with large macro concepts. This should not be a surprise as many of these players have experience with one another but seeing is different than believing. In an attempt to keep this brief, the particular example we're referencing was their trial run of a Junker Queen compostion and how they pathed with it. All this to say, we have strong evidence to support that this team can play more methodical Overwatch and underestimating them is a sin.   

Boston Uprising

  While much of the 2023 Pro-Am has been mostly affirming my stance on teams and players, the one thing that has frankly shocked me has been the Boston Uprising.On paper, they bring the most experience and house names that carry a lot of power. However, certain track records and Kim "birdring" Ji-hyeok's gap year drew fair concerns. And while the former is going to be nearly impossible to test for, the latter has been taken behind the barn and shot dead. Birdring looks phenomenal. With the luxury of a large team, the Uprising should be mostly meta-proof, DPS line checks the boxes and then some. Boston looks strong now, can they carry that weight to the Midseason Madness and have gas left in the tank?
Also read: How to Counter Lifeweaver in Overwatch 2

Florida Mayhem

      The Florida Mayhem this year looks poised to have their best season to date. Retaining a unicorn-esque tank in Ham "SOMEONE" Jeong-wan and adding pieces Sung "CH0R0NG" Yoo-min and Choi "MER1T" Tae-min puts them in striking distance of a deep run at the Midseason Madness. However, concerns and questions regarding the latter of their new acquisitions limits how high they can really go. MER1T is a fantastic Sojourn, we saw that last year. However, as we're seeing in the 2023 Pro-Am, the hitscan threat this season looks to be expanding what it demands. This takes us back to his rather coin-flippy run through Overwatch Contenders. MER1T is a strong talent, but how will he fair as the patches start coming in remains to be seen.   

Los Angeles Gladiators

  It feels wrong to put the Gladiators this low, especially after how strong they looked in the Pro-Am but we've still got reservations. And with how competitive North America looks, it's hard not to. The team carries some impressive talent but whether or not coalesces properly, especially this early on in the season, is a hard sell.  A big question is how the team integrates Kim "Yaki" Jun-ki into the starting lineup. Throughout his career, Yaki has set the tempo for his teams. He was a forward threat most recently on the New York Excelsior and even going back to his roots on MVP Space, Yaki has had his teams match his speed. Is this something the Gladiators' front office can wrangle in time and if they opt not to does this draw into question some concern for the remainder of the season?  On top of a fairly forced style, this is the proper freshman outing for western DPS star Dante "Danteh" Cruz as a solo tank player. While he did impress during 2022 season, his playable hero pool seemed fairly low. Will Danteh be able to grow into a high-impact role as quickly as he's going to need to? The Kevin "kevster" Persson lifejacket is real, question is; can they swim without it?  

Vancouver Titans

  Much like other teams on this list, the Vancouver Titans look to finally have a fighting chance at making a splash this season. With North American prodigy Kamden "Sugarfree" Hijada finally seeing his rookie debut alongside the Titans' staple hitscan ace in Luka "Aspire" Rolovic and the former core of the 2022 Boston Uprising, the potential is clearly there. However, questions around tank stability and a rather lean and mean roster are very apparent.  Leyton "Punk" Gilchrist has fought and clawed his way into a starting position, but can his hero pool hold up in Overwatch 2's single-tank setup? Without any depth, frankly, at any position, can this Titans roster hold up if the meta becomes more agile?  

London Spitfire

    After one of the biggest Cinderella seasons to date, the 2023 London Spitfire aim to repeat that same success this season. The big question at play here is a matter of great ecosystems and how much that can bolster a team.  Now, that's not to discount their offseason pickups. Denis "Lethal" Tari is a strong prospect that will likely scale up alongside the team. On top of that having some additional support options with Robert "Skairipa" Lupsa in a stage where a new support is being added has to be a boon as well.  Yet, much like other teams in this echelon, can this roster compete and punch up when the level of talent has increased so dramatically? It feels possible after last season but with how much North America has improved, it's hard to place them too terribly high.   

Washington Justice

  If the Pro-Am is anything to go by, the Justice have good bones but desperately need to get on the same page.  Led by their DPS duo, the Justice carry some explosives this year. The question is; can the team facilitate them?  Kim "AlphaYi" Jun has been a shining prospect since his time in Overwatch Contenders China. And while the 2022 season didn't net much for the New York Excelsior, Lim "Flora" Young-woo has been showing some promising showcases as of late.  Tanks and supports however are in desperate need of alignment. The coordination is there in the pre-fight and when the established macro goes smoothly, but problem-solving on the fly doesn't seem in their wheelhouse yet.   

New York Excelsior

      "New" York, same woes.   Kim "Kellan" Min-jae came into 2022 with high expectations off a very promising Overwatch Contenders showcase. Sadly, 2022 also saw NYXL play with half a team and four flex supports. We should refresh our takes on Kellan but a single tank lineup with no depth is not something we feel confident about.  Even Kim "FITS" Dong-eun ended last year on a downswing. Adjusting to a mixed roster is likely going to hinder any kind of elasticity 2023 promised for him.  On top of that, there are select metagames where the Excelsior could punch up a few tiers. However with how much Tracer has been historically played and how neither European stars look too terribly comfortable on the hero has us concerned.   

Los Angeles Valiant

  They beat Vegas.  

Las Vegas Eternal

  They lost to Valiant … and Samito. 
Images via Blizzard Entertainment

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